National Bank Yet To Appoint Liquidators, Citing Expense

Despite repeated promises of a speedy solution, the National Bank of Cambodia still has not been able to appoint auditors to liquidate the 11 commercial banks that were closed last month.

Phan Ho, director of the bank’s supervisory department, said Thursday it might take some time to appoint provisional administrators and liquidators because prices proposed by international auditing firms are too high.

“Now we are talking with many auditors,” he said. “The prob­lem is the price for liquidation.”

Phan Ho said according to the law, fees for administrators and liquidators must be paid by each bank being liquidated. While the majority of the 11 closed banks are voluntarily liquidating assets by themselves, Phan Ho said, some banks forced to close need independent auditors appointed by the central bank.

He said the worst case is the Agriculture and Commercial Bank, whose management and shareholders apparently abandoned the bank, leaving it unclear what will happen to their customers’ deposits and other ac­counts.

National Bank officials said earlier this month they had received auditing proposals from four firms, and were negotiating the price. Officials had said auditors would be selected within a few days.

However, Phan Ho said, both sides are still negotiating prices.

“They do not know how long it will take and how much the real cost will be, so it is difficult for auditors to propose exact prices,” Phan Ho said. The central bank is now requesting that all four auditing firms submit another proposal.

According to the banking law, administrators must be appointed within three months of the closure, meaning early March. Administrators are allowed to take as long as three months to audit a bank’s assets and liabilities. Liquidation can start only after the auditing.

Meas Saksom, country manager of auditing firm KAK & Assoc­iates, said the National Bank should seek a legal solution for the bank problem, instead of seeking a contractual liquidation for them. “That’s the only way they can solve the issue,” he said.

 

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